Tips On Saving for Your Child’s Education

by Maria SalovaMay 2, 2013

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College can be expensive. Sometimes you don’t realize how expensive until the first bill for tuition comes in the mail. The key to saving for college is to start early and to plan ahead. The sooner you start saving, the easier it will be on the financial future of both you and your child. Don’t get discouraged if you happen to start a little later than planned, even modest savings can help with college expenses. Invest your money as soon as possible and as the years pass the interest will help your savings amount grow while you keep adding to the savings.

There are college savings plans such as the 529 Savings Plan, which are investment accounts that allow for you to set money aside for your child’s education and have it grow tax-free. The state of Florida allows prepaid plans as well, which help you stay cost effective by prepaying the college tuition, required fees, and dormitory housing. A great benefit of these prepaid plans, other than helping you be cost effective, is that no matter the college cost changes in the future, what you pay now is guaranteed.

Tuition may be the main focus regarding college spending, but do not let yourself forget about other important expenses such as housing. There are many ways to be more cost effective when it comes to college expenses, not to only help you financially but help your child reach their potential and have a successful career.

Despite dormitories being great housing options for students due to their location, security, as well as opportunities to build lasting friendships, dorms can have some downsides for many students. Living with a roommate in one room can have an impact on a person’s privacy, meal plans can get expensive and are often unhealthy, and most dorms require moving your belongings out at the end of each year, causing serious stress. The University of Florida gives students a list of local storage vendors to help store belongings until the next school year; this is a separate expense option that may not be known by many parents. Some of these reasons cause students to consider moving to off campus apartments near UF rather than staying in the dormitories.

The University of Florida off campus housing has great apartment choices for students that are also close to the UF campus. With ForRent.com you could find off campus housing near UF by searching apartment type, number of bedrooms, budget, specific amenity options, and finally, distance to University of Florida’s campus.

Although the overall price of an apartment for a 4-bedroom is more expensive than a 2-bedroom, when divided among four roommates, it is cheaper per person for a 4-bedroom.  Certain amenities are also going to affect the cost of your child’s off campus housing such as utilities. Some of the off campus apartments near UF may include the price of utilities in their rent while others do not. Do some research to see if the price for the apartment with the utilities included would indeed be cheaper than an apartment with separate utilities. Parking permits are also important to keep in mind while searching for apartments. Some of UF’s off campus apartments include parking while others do not; therefore, a parking permit is sometimes needed.

Textbooks are an expense that most parents do not realize until the first few days of college. Textbooks are expensive, to say the least, and are increasingly expensive with each year. Most professors require updated versions for their students, requiring students to consistently buy brand new books. Help yourself and your child financially by looking elsewhere for textbooks instead of the campus book stores. For books that are not brand new, consider borrowing or purchasing from a student who still owns the book. Look online at Amazon.com and Ebay.com for lower prices of textbooks. Also consider Boundless.com, where eBooks are free and include the full text as well as smart notes. With technology on the rise, eBooks are much cheaper and always available to your child; they won’t have to worry about forgetting to bring their book to class or carry a heavy load of books around with them.

By starting your savings plan now, you can reduce the stress of saving up later, help pay for tuition, as well as help save and plan housing costs. It is difficult to try to directly cut tuition costs, but cutting costs with off campus housing and textbooks is definitely an option. The sooner you start investing in college savings, the sooner you can start investing in your child’s successful education and potential careers.

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About The Author
Maria Salova
Hi! I’m Maria, the Marketing Coordinator for Homes.com. I am part of a dream team that is dedicated to running this awesome blog along with Homes.com’s social channels. If I am not busy writing blogs and socially sharing for Homes.com, you can find me painting, drinking tea with my friends, and doing DIY projects!

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